Erdoğan sends a new positive message to Greece but remains uncompromising on the Cyprus issue

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

We hope that the recent positive atmosphere with Greece in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean will yield concrete results, the Turkish leader said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sent a positive message for Greek-Turkish relations but erected another wall on the Cyprus issue.

The Turkish president, who had earlier received the credentials of the new Greek ambassador, Theodoros Bizakis, stated, "We hope that the recent positive atmosphere with Greece in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean will yield concrete results."

Erdoğan made the comment on Greek-Turkish ties at the traditional iftar dinner he hosts every year at the start of Ramadan for foreign ambassadors serving in Ankara.

The deputy foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey, Alexandra Papadopoulou and Burak Akçapar, respectively, met in Ankara on Monday. They examined bilateral relations and regional issues, and at the same time, they made the first preparations for Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis's visit to Ankara in May.

Difficult issues were not discussed in this meeting.

In the Joint Statements, the two sides reaffirmed their will to continue the rapprochement process, stressing that they "reiterated their joint commitment to capitalise on the existing positive atmosphere, in accordance with the Athens Declaration signed last December by the leaders of the two countries, exploring additional areas of bilateral and international cooperation."

However, Erdoğan repeated Turkey's well-known inflexible position that to find a solution to the Cyprus problem, the recognition of the pseudo-state is essential, stressing that "it is not possible to reach a solution by ignoring the rights and interests of the 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' and the sovereign of equality."

This statement essentially shows the limits to which the personal envoy of the UN Secretary-General María Ángela Holguín, who is already on tour in the region, can resolve the issue as Turkey sets as a condition for the resumption of talks the acceptance of sovereign equality and equal international status of the pseudo-state.

Effectively, Erdoğan renders the new initiative for a solution to the Cyprus issue pointless and violates the framework of the UN Security Council's decisions.

The Turkish invasion of Cyprus, codenamed ‘Attila’, began at dawn on July 20, 1974, leading to approximately 4,000 people being killed and 1,619 reported missing. As many as 200,000 Cypriots were forcefully driven away from their homes and became refugees in their own homeland.

Following the invasion, Turkey established the so-called 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' on the occupied territories, recognised only by Turkey and deemed as an illegal entity as per UN Security Council Resolution 541 and UN Security Council Resolution 550.

READ MORE: Disappearing Legacy: The Struggle of Turkey's Greek Orthodox Community.

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